Despite Eugene Melnyk’s desires, the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators will take place in an empty arena. Both teams will skate out into an empty Canadian Tire Centre, an hour away from Ottawa out there in rural Kanata, and they’ll notice one thing missing, sticking out in the deafening silence: No one chanting “GO LEAFS GO”

Toronto Maple Leafs game #2
Opponents: Ottawa Senators
Location: In a field of cows, far from downtown Ottawa
Time: 7:00PM
Watch: TSN4, TSN5, RDS, NHL streaming app

The Maple Leafs kicked off their season two days ago on Wednesday night, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in overtime. The Ottawa Senators are making their season debut tonight, in the first game of a back to back against the Leafs - game two is tomorrow night.

Toronto Maple Leafs lines

Joe Thornton - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Jimmy Vesey  - John Tavares - William Nylander
Ilya Mikheyev - Alexander Kerfoot - Zach Hyman
Alexander Barbanov - Jason Spezza - Wayne Simmonds

Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Travis Dermott - Zach Bogosian

Frederik Andersen
Jack Campbell

Ottawa Senators lines

Brady Tkachuk - Josh Norris - Drake Batherson
Tim Stützle - Derek Stepan - Evgeni Dadonov
Nick Paul - Chris Tierney - Connor Brown
Cedric Paquette - Artem Anisimov - Austin Watson

Thomas Chabot - Erik Gudbranson
Christian Wolanin - Nikita Zaitsev
Braydon Coburn - Josh Brown

Matt Murray
Marcus Hogberg

The Senators will debut a few big new additions to the team: Evgeni Dadonov will start his new three year stay in Ottawa after spending his entire career in Florida so far. Matt Murray begins a new chapter after leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins, and is looking to get back to his Stanley Cup winning form. The biggest debut comes from rookie Tim Stützle, who was picked third overall by the Senators and is the two in the one-two punch in Tkachuk-Stützle anchors of the Senators future.

This season isn’t a “tank and spend all the draft picks” season for the Senators. It also isn’t a “all in and win the cup”. Heck, it’s barely a “playoffs??” season. This season is about growth. Incremental, step-by-step growth. They are the opposite of the Maple Leafs, and it’s going to be a very stress-free season for Senators fans.

If the Senators win one of two games this weekend? That’s amazing!

If they lose two close games? Still okay.

If the Leafs can’t dominate the Senators? Fire the coach.

If the Leafs lose one? Blow it all up.

Man I missed this.